Is Running on the Street the Same as on the Treadmill?

| Fitness

It can be difficult to stay motivated when it comes to running outdoors, especially during these steamy summer months! Deciding whether to abandon your neighborhood route in favor of an air-conditioned treadmill at the gym may raise some questions for all you runners out there, though. There is a great deal of debate circulating around the benefits of running outside versus running on a treadmill, but don't worry! We're here to answer all of your questions.

woman running headphones

Despite varying opinions, most specialists agree that running outside and running on a treadmill will offer you virtually the same advantages, especially if you toss in a few small adjustments. According to Runner's Connect, research suggests that if you set the treadmill at a one percent grade during your run, you can actually offset the lack of wind resistance that you would normally experience outdoors. If you are accustomed to running downhill, some experts recommend sticking lifts under the back of the treadmill in order to stimulate that downward effect.

In fact, if you can get over the somewhat stagnant atmosphere of a gym, a treadmill can offer up a lot of unique and variable workout options if you're looking to push yourself past your daily jog. Treadmills possess a variety of programs that will allow you to test your endurance and speed, give HIIT training a go, or work on your overall running performance through a series of tests that regulates your heart rate. When you're running outside, it can often be difficult to accurately gauge your vitals, whereas a treadmill offers up a plethora of options to regulate your workout.

women on treadmill

While it may not matter physically whether you run outside or on a treadmill, most people do have a clear preference. Treadmills are a treasure-hold of advanced technology, but some runners find themselves slacking off when they ditch their daily jog at the park in favor of the gym. Rather than pushing themselves, some runners find that working out on a treadmill actually discourages them from maintaining a faster pace. They just punch in a number and stick with it, rather than varying their speed and intensity.

Treadmills also offer very little in the way of scenery, so visualizing the end of your workout may become monotonous; a matter of counting down the seconds, rather than racing around that final bend in the trail for a breathless finish. Also, if you are training for some sort of marathon or race, most experts agree that training on the terrain you will be running on is essential. If you need to skip a couple steamy days in the sun and hit the treadmill, no problem, but the majority of your training should be outside!

woman running street copy

>> Read more: Five Ways to Fight Boredom on the Treadmill

Remember that staying motivated is key to getting the most out of your workout, so make sure that whichever you pick — treadmill or trail — you are pushing yourself and getting excited about your run! For more information, check out our sources: Runner's Connect, About Health: Sports Medicine, Runner's World.